Tag Archives: ID

Welsh Tory claims that ‘voter ID’ Bill is ‘nothing to fear’ are nonsense

Voting: if the Tories get their way, don’t bank on being allowed to put your ‘X’ in any boxes unless you are prepared to go through a new layer of pointless bureaucracy.

The Welsh Conservatives: what a ridiculous, small-minded clutch of creeps!

Their current wheeze is trying to pretend that the new Elections Bill in Westminster – that will cheat 3.5 million people out of being able to vote – is “nothing to fear”.

Well, it might be nothing for them to fear, but for Welsh voters it is very serious! This Site calls it the Voter Restriction Bill.

The Welsh Government is rightly opposing the Bill, for reasons we’ll discuss shortly.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar (who?) said: “This is nothing more than mischief making from the Welsh Government and its allies.

“Voters in Wales have nothing to fear from these proposals. The only people who should be concerned are those who intend to commit election fraud.

“People are required to present ID to vote in many vibrant democracies around the world including Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Iceland and Italy so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm here in Wales.”

Fortunately there are adults in Welsh politics who are able to explain to these Tory might-as-well-be children what their own party’s legislation means.

Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru (Wales), said: “This Elections Bill could lead to a ‘two tier franchise’ in Wales, with some elections banning those without ID, and others remaining open and free.”

It means that, if any UK and Welsh elections took place on the same day, two sets of rules about how people take part would apply. Some people would be certain to become confused and fail to take ID – if they had it – meaning they would be excluded from voting in the Westminster election.

“This bill would ban anyone without ID from voting, while forcing over-stretched council workers to become bouncers at the ballot box, turning away potentially thousands of would-be voters each election. There is simply no need for this costly barrier to democracy. At a cost of up to £180m per decade, forcing this through is a strange priority for UK ministers right now.

“Moreover, the changes to the Electoral Commission represent a UK government power grab, with ministers given new controls over our elections watchdog. This is a dangerous and unprecedented move that the Welsh Government is right to oppose.”

Other plans would remove the 15-year limit on overseas electors in UK general elections – to allow Tory donors to continue participating in elections; ban party campaigners from handling postal votes, and stop people from collecting postal votes from people who are unable to get to post boxes and handing them in.

In a paper published on the Senedd website Counsel General Mick Antoniw wrote: “The Welsh government does not support the introduction of voter ID, the placing of unnecessary constraints on postal and proxy voting, or the extension of the overseas franchise.”

Do not be confused: the BBC may claim the move toward voter ID is a bid to prevent possible fraud from people pretending to be someone they are not at a voting station – but how can it be, when such crime is practically nonexistent in the UK and this legislation will cost £180 million per decade?

No – this is a bid to make it harder for working class, older and black, Asian and minority ethnic people to vote.

And the reason is clear: these are all people who are unlikely to vote for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

Source: Welsh Tories claim there’s ‘nothing to fear’ from bill that bans those without ID from voting

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Vaccine passports scrapped – but what does that say about Voter ID?

The ballot box: Boris Johnson doesn’t want you to be able to put anything into it until you can show valid photo ID, like a Tory Party membership card.

Let’s remind ourselves of something Boris Johnson said, way back in pre-history:

Brilliant! And half-true…

The plan for Covid-19 vaccination passports has just been scrapped by Sajid  Javid.

Clearly he has been reading This Site’s discussion of the rights and wrongs of forcing people to vaccinate. Denying them entry to places unless they have been forced to vaccinate is still forcing people to vaccinate, of course.

(Amazingly, one of the guys who was so determined to force his will on other people – even though it wouldn’t make any difference to whether they passed the virus on to him – is still demanding it. His latest effort was to say that people should be force-vaccinated for the same reason we aren’t allowed to smoke in offices – to prevent passive smoking. But passive smoking is forced on non-smokers by smokers and the prohibition is to stop smokers putting something in non-smokers’ bodies that they don’t want there – which is exactly what this guy is trying to do by forcing injections on people who don’t want them. Some might say that’s practically rape.)

However Johnson is still forcing voter ID on us.

It makes a nonsense of Javid’s claim that “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity.” Voting might not be everyday but is still regular.

The Welsh Assembly has already recommended that consent for the Elections Bill – which demands that voters produce a recognised form of photo ID or be turned away – should be refused.

It would make sweeping changes to the UK’s electoral system with very little justification – the “voter ID” demand is being made in spite of the fact that voter impersonation is very nearly nonexistent in the UK.

So convention requires the Assembly to give consent – and it is being withheld. The Welsh Government is seeking amendments that will reduce the impact on Welsh law.

That should keep the Bill tied up for a while.

And just as well, to judge from the reactions:

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Could ‘tinpot dictator’ Boris Johnson learn a lesson from Haiti – before it’s too late?

Dictator Johnson: but will he learn a lesson from the death of Haitian president Jovenel Moise – or will he carry on attacking your freedoms in the belief that “it couldn’t happen here”?

On the day when Haitian president – and, some say, dictator – Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his own home, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was labelled a “tinpot dictator” in the House of Commons. Do you think the parallel will prompt a rethink?

I don’t.

Moise was accused of being a dictator because he did not hold elections when he was expected to – including legislative elections. As I understand it, this meant Haiti has been left without lawmakers since 2019 and he had been ruling by decree for the past two years.

According to The Guardian,

Allegations of an attempted coup – which Moïse said included plans to murder him – marked the latest episode in his controversial period in power that has been characterised by fraudulent elections, protests, economic hardship, repression and rampant corruption.

Does that seem familiar to you?

In February this year he claimed an attempt to kill him and overthrow his government had been foiled, arresting 23 people including a top judge and a senior police officer and using police to put down political protests after they became violent.

Does that remind you of the Johnson regime?

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, referred to Johnson as a “tinpot dictator” during Prime Minister’s Questions, when he raised the Tory government’s plan for vote-rigging by introducing a system in which voters will have to provide a specific form of identification before being allowed to take part in elections.

Mr Blackford said, “It’s easier to get re-elected if the government can choose the voters rather than the voters choosing the government.”

(I note that Voter ID will not be introduced for elections here in Wales. The Labour-run government here rightly states that electoral fraud is practically nonexistent and could disenfranchise millions of voters in the UK.)

Looking at Haiti, it is easy to see where interference with elections can lead.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking:

“It couldn’t happen here.” Really?

I bet you can think of at least one person in the UK who has died under mysterious circumstances that may have been politically-motivated – and may have been covered up in subsequent inquiries. I can.

It could happen here, just as it could happen in Haiti – as soon as Johnson outlives his usefulness.

And he’s not doing very well with his plan to spread new variants of Covid-19 by lifting social distancing rules, is he?

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Tories love being racist: they lied about voter ID demand stopping BAME people from voting

The Conservative government said its plan to demand ID from voters at elections did not discriminate against black people and those minority ethnic groups, when the only available facts showed that it did.

As far as This Writer is concerned, that is an example of blatant racism – an attempt to deny people who aren’t white their basic democratic right.

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said in June that “the evidence shows there is no impact on any particular demographic group … the evidence of our pilots shows that there is no impact on any particular demographic group from this policy.”

But the Electoral Commission showed information that suggests the exact opposite.

A 2019 report found in Derby, one of the pilot areas, that there was a strong correlation between the proportion of each ward’s population from an Asian background and the number of people not issued with a ballot paper – similar to a 2018 finding in Watford.

But the Commission said, “Polling station staff were not asked to collect demographic data about the people who did not come back, owing to the practical challenges involved in carrying out that data collection exercise.”

It cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the data and said there was not yet sufficient evidence in either direction.

But we can draw conclusions.

If the Tories had wanted to know who would be deprived of the vote, and how badly it affected particular groups, they would have carried out the research. They didn’t.

They then went on to tell falsehoods that the research had been carried out when it hadn’t and that it showed no impact on any demographic group.

You don’t lie about something like this unless you are deliberately trying to harm people from ethnic minorities.

We can only conclude that the Tory voter ID plan is intended to stop black people and those from other ethnic minorities from voting:

Yes, voter suppression. Tories in government are a racist attack on democracy.

Source: MPs may have been misled over BAME voter ID claims | Electoral reform | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: NHS staff have to hide ID amid bids to steal their identity for free food and drink

This is sickening. How low can people go?

It’s possible to blame Tory policies that pushed millions of people below the breadline before the coronavirus crisis struck.

But it’s also entirely possible that these are just extremely selfish people who are seeing others getting something they’re not and want it for themselves.

Either way, it is not acceptable. NHS staff are risking their own lives to help people with the virus and this is a repulsive way to pay them back.

NHS staff are being targeted by muggers trying to steal their identity badges so they can use them to obtain the free food and drinks being offered to doctors and nurses tackling coronavirus.

Health service bosses are so concerned by a spate of incidents that they are preparing to warn all hospital staff to hide their NHS lanyards when they are arriving at or leaving work.

Source: NHS staff warned to hide ID after spate of targeted muggings | NHS | The Guardian

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Voter ID: ‘protecting the integrity of democracy’ – or just stopping plebs from voting?

Voters at the ballot box: but would either of these people have been able to exercise their democratic right, had they been asked to produce acceptable photographic identification?

Boris Johnson’s government has already failed on two key promises – raising the minimum wage and rail access for disabled people – but he’s promising to be really good at delivering this one.

He says introducing mandatory photographic identification of voters at polling stations will “protect the integrity of our democracy” – it’s on page 48 of his Conservative manifesto.

He means he wants to deprive tens of thousands of young people and those from disadvantaged groups from voting – because they don’t vote Tory.

Critics have pointed out that very few people have been caught committing personation – pretending to be someone else in order to commit electoral fraud.

In comparison, 800 genuine voters were turned away in a pilot project earlier this year.

Meanwhile, critics have warned that Mr Johnson is ignoring genuine problems like anonymous political ads, dodgy donations and fake news.

It seems that, while claiming to be improving democracy, Mr Johnson is in fact trying to, badly, limit it.

Source: Voter ID: Boris Johnson to make photo ID mandatory at polling stations, Queen’s Speech reveals | The Independent

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DWP persecutes claimants rather than scammers over ‘industrial scale’ benefit fraud

Despair: It seems the DWP’s plan to tackle Universal Credit fraud is to prosecute the victims, rather than the criminals.

Only one scammer has been prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions in connection with a fraud that has cost the nation an estimated £150 million per month.

The 145 dedicated staff hired by the DWP to investigate seem more interested in prosecuting genuine benefit claimants – with one already convicted and 28 facing prosecution.

Doesn’t that seem the wrong way around?

The scam works because people who need to claim benefits have been made increasingly desperate by the economic conditions created by the Conservative government.

Here’s how I described it, back in July:

“The scammer approaches the victim – a person in need of quick cash – and offers to get them a government grant or a payday loan for a small fee. They demand the victim’s identity details.

“The scammer then simply goes online and makes a Universal Credit claim in the victim’s name, demanding an advance loan in the process.

“The DWP’s online system automatically approves the claim because it doesn’t know any better and transfers the money into the victim’s bank account – from which the scammer then takes a huge amount of the money that has been handed over.

“The victim is left with a small fraction of the loan, but owing the entire amount back to the DWP. Not only that, but any other benefits they may have been claiming will have been cancelled.

“So the victim is left much worse-off – and the government department doesn’t care. It will pursue them for the full amount.”

This is what we are seeing now – the DWP is apparently pursuing the victims, rather than the perpetrators.

“It seems the scam works because of Universal Credit’s ‘digital by design’ nature; the computerised system automatically approves the application, no matter how bizarre the claims in it.

“So thousands of pounds have been given in response to claims on behalf of (allegedly) a 19-year-old with six blind children, people with children called Lisa, Bart and Homer – or indeed Ha, Ha and Ha – and people claiming “Harry Kane” is their landlord.

“Apparently 100,000 or more such advances are being paid every month. At up to £1,500 a go, that’s a lot of money.”

It seems the DWP’s 145 investigators are currently looking into 85,000 cases, with the caseload increasing all the time.

Has anything been done to stop the computerised Universal Credit claim system from automatically allowing these scams? If not, why not? Do the Tories see it as another way to persecute the vulnerable?

It seems to This Writer that there is only one way to stop the scammers from exploiting the vulnerable – and to stop the Tories from persecuting them.

Elect a Labour government that will end Universal Credit and implement a fair system in which people won’t be pushed into the arms of criminals.

It’s that simple.

Source: DWP: Just one scammer prosecuted so far for snaring people in Universal Credit fraud – Mirror Online

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Universal Credit loophole that Tories never fixed leads to huge ID theft scam

Amber Rudd: This scandal has come to light on her watch. Will she take responsibility and quit (again)?

The government is handing huge wodges of cash to identity thieves because of a loophole in Universal Credit that the Tories were either too stupid to anticipate, or about which they simply didn’t care.

In all honesty, the scam also relies on the victims themselves being stupid and desperate.

Fortunately for the scammers, economic conditions created by – guess who? – the Conservative government has nurtured an atmosphere of desperation among thousands upon thousands of people who are living hand-to-mouth – and desperation leads people to do unwise things.

It works like this:

The scammer approaches the victim – a person in need of quick cash – and offers to get them a government grant or a payday loan for a small fee. They demand the victim’s identity details.

How do these scammers know who to target? The victim on the BBC News website says she was approached by a smartly-dressed man with a Job Centre Plus card. Where are these people getting their information?

The scammer then simply goes online and makes a Universal Credit claim in the victim’s name, demanding an advance loan in the process.

The DWP’s online system automatically approves the claim because it doesn’t know any better and transfers the money into the victim’s bank account – from which the scammer then takes a huge amount of the money that has been handed over.

The victim is left with a small fraction of the loan, but owing the entire amount back to the DWP. Not only that, but any other benefits they may have been claiming will have been cancelled.

So the victim is left much worse-off – and the government department doesn’t care. It will pursue them for the full amount.

It seems the scam works because of Universal Credit’s “digital by design” nature; the computerised system automatically approves the application, no matter how bizarre the claims in it.

So thousands of pounds have been given in response to claims on behalf of (allegedly) a 19-year-old with six blind children, people with children called Lisa, Bart and Homer – or indeed Ha, Ha and Ha – and people claiming “Harry Kane” is their landlord.

Apparently 100,000 or more such advances are being paid every month. At up to £1,500 a go, that’s a lot of money.

Now get ready for the double-punchline.

Remember when the Tories were trying to accuse genuinely sick and disabled people of benefit fraud, claiming they were “scroungers” and “skivers” to take their cash and drive them to their deaths?

The fraud rate at the time was just two per cent. Now, DWP estimates suggest fraud has skyrocketed – because of a loophole that the government built into the system.

That’s the first punchline.

Here’s the second: This scam was reported by the Daily Express more than a month ago but the BBC has only brought it to wider public attention today.

Why the delay?

Is it because nobody trusts the news media anymore, after they spent the last few years pushing pro-Tory government propaganda?

Source: Universal credit: Multi-million pound scam targets claimants – BBC News

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Now the Tories are trying to cover up the cost of stopping us from voting

The Conservative government is withholding the facts about the cost of its pointless “voter ID” checks.

The scheme puts barriers in the way to prevent ordinary people from voting – at huge cost to the public purse.

A pilot during the local government elections this year cost £1.7 million and resulted in an alleged 350 people being turned away from polling stations in five constituencies.

The result was entirely disproportionate to the problem. There were only 21 cases of alleged in-person voter fraud in 2014, 44 in 2016, and 28 in 2017 – 0.000063% per vote cast.

It gave rise to criticisms that the Conservatives are trying to disenfranchise huge numbers of voters – who are demographically more likely to support the Labour Party.

Now the Tories are withholding details of the cost of another pilot “voter ID” check, due to take place next year.

These Conservatives are constantly telling us there is no money for vital services, but they are happy to spray public cash up the wall when it suits them.

Remember the water cannons that Boris Johnson bought for £322,000 while he was Mayor of London? They have been sold for just £11,025 – for scrap – after never having been used.

Of particular note to those who think the Tories are the party of financial responsibility is the cost of fitting CD players – £1,000 per water cannon.

And we know that the Conservatives offered £1 billion of our money to the DUP, just to support them in Parliament, with a further £1 billion included in this year’s Budget. Of course, they only handed over a little more than £400 million of it, but think what a difference that could have made to people struggling to make ends meet on pared-to-the-bone benefits that no longer cover the necessities of life.

Now they think they can spend our own money on schemes to stop those of us who support Labour from doing so at a polling station.

The sooner they lose the “no confidence” vote that seems certain to happen in the next few weeks – and all their silly spending splurges are scrapped – the better.

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Voter ID harms democracy so the Conservatives WILL roll it out, never mind the £20 million cost


It doesn’t matter how many organisations make common-sense arguments to stop the roll-out of voter ID checks.

The Conservatives are in trouble at the ballot box; they’re losing votes badly and need to stop Labour voters having a chance to exercise what should be their democratic right.

That is the reason the Tories have been claiming the voter ID pilot tests during the local elections in May were a glorious success, despite the fact that thousands of legitimate voters were denied access to democracy.

At just five constituencies, 3,981 voters were turned away. The total number of allegations of voter fraud in 2017 – out of a total of 45 million votes cast – was just 28.

There is no way of proving that there was anything wrong with the 3,981 voters who were turned away, so we can only accept that 28 possible instances of voter fraud are known to us.

This means that, at £20 million to roll it out across the UK, the cost to the taxpayer is £700,000 per allegation.

Considering the cost, and the effect on democracy, it’s no wonder the details were released right before Parliament went into summer recess, in a (failed, as usual) bid to hide the plan from the general public.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Cat Smith, made the situation perfectly clear: “Wasting tens of millions of pounds on trying to make it harder for people to vote has got to be one of the most stupid ideas ever.”

It is stupid, but only because the Tories have been caught red-handed. But they are unlikely to care because it is unlikely that anybody else will be able to do anything about it.

… I wonder how this would affect the DUP’s vote, if rolled out in Northern Ireland? If it isn’t, of course, the corruption should be obvious to everybody.

Back to Ms Smith: “At a time when our public services are in crisis and thousands of families are having to rely on foodbanks to stave off hunger, it is staggering that the Tories think that they can justify these undemocratic and unaffordable plans,” she added.

“Local authority election teams are already facing huge financial pressures after eight years of extreme Tory cuts and the government has no plans to address these concerns.”

All true.

Back in May, when I wrote about this following the local elections, I stated: “If the Conservatives go ahead with this, based on the evidence we’ve seen, we’ll know they are trying to nobble democracy.”

And we do know, don’t we?

Ministers are facing calls to ditch plans for nationwide voter ID checks as it emerged introducing them at a general election could cost up to £20m – even though there were only 28 cases of polling station impersonations alleged in 2017.

The government has been urged to abandon the contentious proposals, with the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) pointing out that at this rate, the cost could equate to £700,000 per fraud allegation.

Labour has claimed the moves are in danger of locking people out of the democratic process, and critics fear it could disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and the poorest.

It comes after ministers vowed to press ahead with plans to extend trials of the scheme, despite hundreds of people being turned away from the ballot box during tests in several locations during May’s local elections.

Details of the potential cost, which includes the price of hiring and training extra staff to carry out the identification checks, were set out with little fanfare in a Cabinet Office paper released ahead of the summer recess.

Source: Ministers urged to abandon Voter ID as rollout at general election estimated to cost up to £20m | The Independent

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